A simple menu says so much


A great benefit of reading a book on simplicity is the secret thrill one receives by finding examples of simplicity at work in the course of daily living.  Including the drive-thru at In-N-Out Burger.

Here’s a simple drive-thru menu snapped from the window of my car.  Lots of Maeda’s Laws at work here.   What makes it simple?  Some random thoughts:

  • An elemental bill of materials.  Want fried stuff?  French fries.  No onion rings.  No curly, corkscrew, or chipped potatoes.  No fried zucchini or wheatgrass.  Simple.
  • Popular nouns, rather than branded nouns.  A cheeseburger is a cheeseburger is a cheeseburger, not a Whopper or a Bacon Western Cheese.
  • Easy to read.  For the most part, a big, painted font.
  • Simple through time.  A consequence (or a driver?) of the previous item.  Since the stuff is painted on, it’s likely to be the same selection at the same price the next time I go.  Knowing that I can expect the thing I like to be there at the price I expect makes it a simpler transaction experience.  This is Law 4 at work.